Thursday, June 11, 2009


First Reading: Acts 11:21b-26; 13:1-3
Psalm: Ps 98:1-6 -- The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power
Gospel: Mt 5:20-26
Memorial of Saint Barnabas, Apostle

Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny. - Matthew 5:25-26


In the gospel reading today, we hear the first of Jesus' clarifications on the Ten Commandments. It is incredibly rich with wisdom, and I recommend a thorough reading of Matthew chapter 5 on your own for further reflection.

An interesting note of the two examples that Jesus presents in today's reading: both put us in the position of the debtor. In the first, Jesus mentions that we should leave our gift at the altar if we remember that our brother has something against us (Mt. 5:23). We are not forgiving our brother, rather, we are seeking forgiveness. In the second example (shown above), we are the ones at risk of being thrown into prison, not our opponent. In both examples, we are called to seek their forgiveness immediately, and not to put any activity before it, lest our opportunity be lost.

This is a parallel of our relationship with God. When we go to offer gifts to the Lord, we should first seek His forgiveness, as well as that of any brothers we have wronged. Our offering will mean nothing if we stubbornly hold onto our pride, and refuse to admit our shortcomings. Likewise, we should make sure to settle with God often, through His gift of the sacrament of reconciliation, before we arrive at our own judgment. It is all the more important that we do this as soon as possible, because we do not know how soon we should arrive at His court.

Finally, take all of this in the context of the opening statements of this gospel reading. Jesus tells us that we are subject to judgment if we are angry with, our insult, our brothers (and sisters) (Mt. 5:22). When we get angry with our family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, or any other people we meet throughout the day, we must seek their forgiveness. What is more, we should watch our actions, and our thoughts, to make sure we communicate in love; discussing civilly, admonishing gently, and forgiving readily.

forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us - Matthew 6:12

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of this day. Thank you for your gift of the sacrament of reconciliation; draw us to it often. Guide us in our interactions with others, especially those who do not believe, that we might treat them with love and respect. We ask all of this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment